Council for Citizens Against Government Waste's Plea for Action

November 26, 2007


Submitted by the President of CCAGW

Dear Taxpayers,

I urge you to call on your U.S. Representative and Senators today to sign CCAGW's Earmark Reform Pledge!

The ink was barely dry on the "New Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007" when House and Senate leaders began looking for ways to circumvent or obstruct its earmark disclosure rules. CCAGW's Earmark Reform Pledge aims to commit lawmakers to providing taxpayers with greater transparency and accountability for earmarks.

By signing the pledge, members of Congress agree to 10 provisions, including that they will:

  • fully disclose all earmarked funding or targeted tax benefit requests on their congressional websites;
  • not request any earmarked funding or targeted tax benefit provision that does not serve a federal interest and/or have a federal nexus;
  • not request any earmarked funding or targeted tax benefit provision that would be directed toward a specific private entity that was not requested by an agency; and,
  • support legislation that would end the linkage between campaign contributions and earmarks.

From 1995 to 2005, the number of appropriations earmarks grew nearly tenfold, from 1,439 to 13,997. It's no coincidence that the proliferation of earmarks has corresponded with the debasement of the budgetary process in Washington. As the examples of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) and Jack Abramoff illustrate, lawmakers and lobbyists trade in earmarks as their "currency of corruption." If House and Senate leaders are truly committed to overseeing "the most ethical Congress in history," they should be making it easier, not more difficult, to follow the money trail.

Please tell your Representative and Senators today to sign CCAGW's Earmark Reform Pledge!

Sincerely,

Thomas A. Schatz
President


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